Red tape row looms for Byron resort
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
BILLIONAIRE developer Gerry Harvey reckons Byron Bay, and in particular the shire's Greens mayor, Cr Jan Barham, has him pegged wrong.
Speaking to The Northern Star yesterday, the flamboyant retail developer defended a decision to lay pipes in readiness to transfer treated effluent from his $50 million Suffolk Park resort, Byron at Byron, to the greens of the neighbouring Byron Golf Club, a plan that is not council-approved.
Mayor Jan Barham claims this would breach the approval granted for the 92-unit and conference centre in the Land and Environmental Court.
She has warned Mr Harvey that an occupation certificate allowing the resort to open before Christmas may be withheld.
"In court, the council was essentially forced to accept an onsite sewerage proposal for the development, otherwise it would have continued to oppose and refuse the development on the grounds of inapppropriate sewerage management," she said.
"We now learn that the devel- opers are presenting a proposal that the best environmental outcome is for the effluent to be disposed off-site on the golf course.
"It is an ongoing frustration that some developers are unwilling to comply with their approvals."
Council would not bow down to bullying tactics from the big business end of town to approve the resort in time for Christmas, Cr Barham said.
"They'll have to wait in line like everybody else (for development approval)," she said.
"They can't expect to get special treatment."
A perplexed Gerry Harvey doesn't see what all the fuss is about, claiming the effluent being transferred would be treated to the point of being crystal clear drinking water.
"Yes, we bought an approval for on-site disposal, now we've found a better solution," Mr Harvey said.
"It would be bloody-minded if this gets blocked. It would make no sense.
"If you are given a development approval and half-way through you come up with a better solution, then all parties should be congratulating each other," Mr Harvey said.
"Would she rather we go ahead and pump the water out to sea?"